An Open Letter To the Board of Directors of Apple Computer

Good day Gentlemen,

I am writing to express my extraordinary dissatisfaction upon learning that one of my Macintosh computers will not be fully supported by OS X. I own a PowerBook G3, Bronze Keyboard. I purchased this computer in 1999 for the singular purpose of being able to make the transition to OS X. When this product was introduced, it was with the understanding that it would be a supported product for running Mac OS X. Now I have learned that video development in OSX for this PowerBook and many other supported Macintosh computers is no longer being planned. (Please see Apple Care Knowledge Base article, 106154.)

Video performance of QuickTime, 3D applications and DVD either doesn’t work or is completely inadequate for anyone using OS X on computers using the video chipsets mentioned in the Knowledge Base article above. I knew that OS X would not be perfect when I purchased it but I didn’t expect that such a critical portion of OS X would later be halted before at least an acceptable level of performance was achieved. I don’t expect the video of my PowerBook G3 will perform at the same level as my PowerMac G4 equipped with an AGP video card but certainly I didn’t expect Apple to drop development altogether for these video chipsets.

People like myself are the backbone of Apple Computer. I am a great, enthusiastic and loyal customer that has been purchasing your products since 1993. The list of personal hardware that I have purchased includes two laptop computers, three desktop computers (five if you include the number of Macintosh computers I’ve given as presents). I’ve also consulted on the purchase of countless Macintosh computers by friends, family members and businesses/organizations where I’m associated. I’ve purchased Apple displays, printers and the number of OS upgrades totals hundreds of dollars. The grand total I have personally spent on your products exceeds 10,000 dollars. Why would you leave a customer (and the many thousands of others like myself) stranded when it comes to these particular computers.

Many customer’s loyalty survived through years of uncertainty and the very real possibility of Apple not surviving. Why would that loyalty later be abused by not supporting the very computers that kept Apple going while OS X was being developed? What if no one had not purchased any of your products until OS X came out in March of this year? Where would Apple be now without any income to develop OS X?

To use Steve Job’s own word choice, it “baffles” me that you would abandon development for this video chipset. It leaves a foul taste in my mouth and I find my once rock solid loyalty clearly in question.

Business Ethics Magazine recognized Apple as one of the top 100 most ethical companies. You placed 32nd on their list. The decision not to further improve the video capability of OS X on these officially supported Macintoshes certainly calls into question the concept that; “Good corporate citizenship is defined as serving everybody with an interest in the company.”

I have an interest in Apple. Any customer that purchased a Macintosh computer with the understanding it would run OS X has an interest in Apple. Yet, we find ourselves not being served when OS X finally is beginning to reach a quality and maturity, which has been so long in coming.

This latest action of Apple hardly seems right to me. It reminds me of a joke that used to be told about Microsoft but I think it clearly applies to Apple in this instance.

“How many Apple employees does it take to change a light bulb?

“None, they just redefine darkness as the new standard.”

Please, don’t become like your competitors, do the right thing. Continue development of the video capabilities on these computers and back the customers that supplied you the income to develop Mac OS X. It is simply wrong to do otherwise when these are the very computers and customers that helped make OS X a reality.


Robert G. McCormick

Bob McCormick

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